Coronado adults, teenagers, and kids are encouraged to participate in the 2021 Coronado Community Read with events throughout the month of February. This year’s book is Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi. The nonfiction historical narrative was published in 2016 and won the National Book Award for Nonfiction that same year. Stamped was selected by the community out of five book finalists with almost 200 more votes than the closest title.
Kelly Purvis, Senior Management Analyst for the city supporting Arts and Culture, and the liaison to the Cultural Arts Commission, shared some details of the book. Stamped from the Beginning addresses the history of racist ideas that developed in our nation’s founding. The book shows how racist ideas lead to racist practices and mindsets, which helps to explain some of the ongoing societal issues in our country today.
Purvis said, “Stamped raises uncomfortable truths about our past and how it has impacted our present. In 2021, our aim with this program is to create an open and cordial dialogue on an issue that affects all of us and how our community can go forward positively.”
According to 2019 Census Bureau data, Coronado’s population is only 3.6% Black or African American. However, recent events, including the June 2020 March Against Racism, indicate that the book is relevant for discussion.
At close to 600 pages, Stamped from the Beginning is longer than previous Community Read book selections. Purvis shared, “While it is a long, and at times dense, book, Kendi’s style makes it easy to read.”
For younger readers, Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi is a young adult version of the book. Purvis said that it does an excellent job of condensing the information (it’s 321 pages) without losing any of the importance of the main work. The children’s book selection is The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson.
Community Read events are scheduled for adults, teens, and kids throughout February, which coincides with Black History Month. In addition to multiple book discussions, there is an author lecture with Kendi, an author reading with Woodson, film discussions, panel discussions and more (are virtual of course). Download a PDF of the calendar of events here and find all events on the library’s website. Most events require advance registration through the library’s website in order to receive the Zoom link.
For the two panel discussions, the Coronado Library is bringing in diverse voices, including local leaders in racial justice and equity. Purvis pointed out that all panelists have extensive experience in their fields and will bring a unique voice to the events.
The first online panel at 11 am on Thursday, February 4 features Laura Castañada of the Union-Tribune and LaMonica Peters of CBS Channel 8 who will discuss how the media covers racial issues and the importance of minority voices.
The second online panel is on Wednesday, February 17 at 11 am, and includes San Diego County Supervisor Nora Vargas, Geneviéve Jones-Wright of Community Advocates for Just and Moral Governance, and Shawn McClondon of the Sisters Cities Project, who will discuss the importance of addressing racial issues in communities and moving forward with inclusivity.
Members of the Coronado community are additionally invited to join in the library hosted Zoom sessions on February 9, February 20, and February 25 to discuss their experience reading Stamped from the Beginning.
On February 11, watch the documentary I Am Not Your Negro using your Coronado library card access to Kanopy. After viewing, join the 11am Zoom discussion about the film.
One of the final Community Read events for 2021 is a February 23 screening of the PBS documentary movie, Whose Streets?, that covers the 2014 Ferguson uprising in response to the shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown.
Readers of Stamped from the Beginning might also be interested in Kendi’s 2019 follow-up book, How to Be An Anti-racist, that moves beyond history to identify actions to uproot racism in society.
The Coronado Public Library has 20 print copies, four digital copies, and 20 audio books available of Stamped from the Beginning, and eight print copies, one digital copy, and 21 audio books of the young adult version, Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You. Books are also available at Bay Books Coronado, 1007 Orange Ave.